Governor invites Freedom Riders to celebrate in Mississippi - - Jackson, MS

Governor invites Freedom Riders to celebrate in Mississippi

By Ashley Conroy

JACKSON, MS (WLBT) -- Governor Haley Barbour had a few words to say at the annual Millsaps/Tougaloo Martin Luther King Day Celebration. 

His appearance today was to announce the celebration of 50 years after the "Freedom Summer of 1961."

"It's well known that Mississippi did not exactly welcome the Freedom Rider's 50 years ago," Governor Barbour said.

Barbour says around 125 Freedom Riders were asked to come back to the Magnolia State to attend celebrations on May 22nd.

"Today as the Governor I am proud to celebrate as the host of several days of celebration."

This announcement also comes in light of a civil rights museum initially designated to be built on the Tougaloo College campus, that is now coming to downtown Jackson. 

Tougaloo President Dr. Beverly Hogan says initially they were surprised with the announcement.

"Tougaloo College was just taken aback when the announcement came that it was going to be downtown," Hogan said. "We wish we had been told talk to about the change in location."

The museum was first proposed to the State Legislature three years ago, and didn't pass.

Barbour says he and his commission wanted to ensure this piece of the state's history has it's place on Mississippi soil.

"Having been stymied for three years, I want to make sure progress gets made so this museum can be done," the Governor said. "Governor Winter, Justice Anderson and others have come to me with the belief that if it's going to get done, it's got to get done in Jackson."

Students who attended the commemoration of Dr. Martin Luther King say regardless of location, it will only enrich Mississippi's history.

"I'm originally from Memphis, and I'm so used to having a national civil rights museum," said Junior at Millsaps, James Wilson. "And I think it will be a good edition to Jackson."

Millsaps Freshman Eleanor Giglil says she is excited to see Mississippi complete it's legacy.

"I think it's such a great way to honor history and honor the fact that how far we've come in the last 50 years."

Meantime, State Senator John Horne-D Jackson announced two bills in the State Legislature on Monday dealing with the creation of the Civil Rights Museum in downtown Jackson.

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